The discussion with the group of high school students and professors from the town of Demir Hisar was the last of a series of focus groups and interviews conducted by the Institute for Communication Studies (ICS) as part of the project "Local Action for Better Environmental Protection Policy". Since the beginning of May, ICS conducted six focus groups and over a dozen of interviews with professors in the six regions and municipalities that have protected areas (Pelagonija, Strumica, Ohrid, Prespa, Demir Kapija, Tikvesh). Students and their professors discussed environmental protection priorities in their immediate vicinity, how much the formal education teaches about ecology, sustainable development and environmental protection, whether they are involved in extracurricular activities in this area, forms of cooperation between the schools and institutions, local government, civil society organizations, etc. The study included around sixty high school students and eleven professors from a total of eleven secondary schools in these regions and municipalities.

ICS and the Macedonian Ecological Society (MES), will conduct focus groups with civil society organizations from these regions and municipalities, as well as with representatives of institutions with competences in environmental protection and management of protected areas. Based on the findings of the research, the hottest environmental issues in these areas will be identified so that partnership initiatives for environmental protection between civil society organizations and high schools can be supported in the next phase of the project. During the autumn, ICS will open a call for grants in support of six initiatives.

This project is implemented by ICS in partnership with the MES, with financial support of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).